- NEW: Senior U.S. officials say the curtailing of aid was done to pressure Pakistan
- NEW: The officials say it’s to pressure Pakistan to crack down on militants
- NEW: The officials also say it’s also retribution for Pakistan expelling U.S. military trainers
- The move follows a growing rift since Osama bin Laden’s killing
Washington (CNN) — The United States is holding back $800 million in aid to Pakistan, President Barack Obama’s chief of staff said Sunday.
Appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” White House Chief of Staff William Daley confirmed a report in the New York Times that the aid was being withheld.
While Pakistan has “been an important ally in the fight on terrorism,” Daley said, “now they’ve taken some steps that have given us reason to pause on some of the aid which we’re giving to the military, and we’re trying to work through that.”
A spokesman for the Pakistani military told CNN the military was not informed of any such plan.
“Since we haven’t received anything in writing,” Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said, “we will not comment on this matter.”
Senior U.S. officials, who declined to speak on the record because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the curtailing of aid, which represents a third of U.S. security assistance to Pakistan, was done both to pressure Pakistan to crack down on militants and as retribution for expelling U.S. military trainers.